How Rappler misled EU, Human Rights Watch, CNN, Time, BBC — the world



Stop using that fake news of ‘7,000 summarily executed’

AS Mark Twain put it, a lie can travel around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.

A section in the European Union Parliament’s resolution last Thursday that interfered with our justice system and condemned the government’s campaign against illegal drugs read: “7,000 drug-related killings by the police and vigilantes have been reported since President Duterte took office on 30 June 2016.”

That 7,000 is the same number Vice President Leni Robredo used in her message last week to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs to rant against Duterte. It is the same figure that was used in the very critical report on the country by New York-based Human Rights Watch. It is the same figure used again and again by Western media, such as CNN, BBC, Time, and even the New York Times — all citing the Philippine National Police as its source. Even Al-Jazeera and Wikipedia cite this 7,000 number.

That 7,000 figure is false, from a fake news fabricated (or stupidly calculated) by the financially-bleeding news website Rappler ( and repeated in Hitlerian fashion by Yellow propagandists that even Western media which are normally fact-check obsessive, have assumed it to be an accurate figure released by the PNP. Rappler has been very much an anti-Duterte news outfit, and is now mostly funded by the American firms North Base Media and Omidyar (whose owner had founded eBay).

The article by Rappler was first posted September 13 and, regularly updated, reads:

“There had been over 7,000 deaths linked to the ‘war on drugs’ – both from legitimate police operations and vigilante-style or unexplained killings (including deaths under investigation) from July 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.”

It gave a breakdown of its more precise 7,080 figure, which it claimed was “based on revised PNP data at the end of that period,” as follows:

The Rappler report is so patently wrong, I can only attribute it not to stupidity but to malice. It included 4,525 “deaths under investigation or investigation concluded” as killings related to the ant-drug war – which they aren’t!

The PNP’s regular reports on “victims in cases of deaths under investigation or investigation concluded” refer to all murders and homicides, whether it is the result of road rage, robbery, or deadly love triangles— and not just those related to the anti-illegal drug campaign. Rappler very wrongly and perhaps maliciously  classified these deaths as due to Duterte’s war against illegal  drugs, therefore bloating  three times the number of  people killed in the course of that campaign.

Somebody should be fired at the PNP—or Malacañang’s communications team— for allowing the Rappler lie to go unchallenged for six months, that Western media, and now even the European Union Parliament, have swallowed it hook, line and sinker, and have even disseminated it.

After Rappler’s false report that its 7,080 figure referred to those killed “from legitimate police operations and vigilante-style or unexplained killings,” Robredo and other yellow hacks have since used this figure, for example, in her UN message, as the number of people “killed in summary executions.” This has created a very false picture of a country in which police lined up drug suspects on the wall and shot them dead.

It was only last week that a PNP spokesperson pointed out how terribly wrong that 7,000 figure which Robredo used in her message to the UN narcotics body was. He said that, according to PNP data, there were 2,582 killed in legitimate drug operations so far, not 7,000, and that “deaths under investigation” includes “all crimes happening on the streets.”

Even as I, and the PNP, have pointed out its mistake to Rappler, it has not apologized for its error, nor has it deleted its fake news. Is that responsible journalism?

But do we have any means to check the PNP’s figures, to find out if they are credible?

We have. To the credit of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, hardly a pro-Duterte newspaper, it listed, based on police blotters and the dispatches of their national network of police reporters, killings related to the anti-drug war, from July 1 to February 16, when government officially halted, temporarily, its campaign. The list was detailed, with the names of the victims if available, where they were killed in case of police operations, or if they were found dead, murdered by what the paper termed as “unidentified hit men.”

Based on the PDI’s raw data, we extracted the following:
• There were 2,107 killed in the campaign against illegal drugs from July 1 to February 16, which is even smaller than the PNP’s figure of 2,582, even if the police’s number includes drug-related deaths up to March 15.

• Out of this, 1,137, or 54 percent of the total, were killed in police “buy-bust” and Operation Tokhang* operations, as well as in the course of serving of search or arrest warrants. Some 970, or 40 percent, were found dead – “killed by unknown hit men,” as the PDI described it.

• Other than the 132 killed with such notes on cardboards pinned on the corpses saying, “I am a drug lord”, or a “I am a pusher,” the paper however doesn’t explain how it, or the police, concluded that the other 838 killed were killed as a result of the anti-drug war.

• Some 385, or 18 percent, couldn’t be identified.

Some 2,107 people killed in the anti-drug war in seven and a half months of course is still deplorable, but far from the 7,000 that Rappler and Robredo claim, and certainly gives a new perspective in assessing Duterte’s anti-drug war

Furthermore, the geographical distribution of those killed in the anti-drug war is revealing: 1,131, or 55 percent, of the 2,048 cases in which their location was determined, are only in five cities, known to be havens of the illegal-drug trade: Quezon City, Cebu, Manila, Pasay and Pasig.

It would make very good sense for Duterte to focus his anti-drug war on these five cities. Their mayors though should be taken to task as to why the illegal-drug trade has proliferated so much in their cities: Quezon City’s Herbert Bautista, Cebu City’s Tomas Osmeña, Manila’s Joseph Estrada, and Pasig’s Robert Eusebio. As a former mayor, Duterte I’m sure can have a heart-to-heart talk with these ineffectual mayors.

On the other hand, if Robredo and other human rights champions are really sincere about stopping the summary executions of suspected drug pushers and addicts, they should focus their limited resources on these five cities to expose and prevent human rights abuses.

Rather than just bawl and beg the UN to interfere.

*”Tokhang” is a neologism consisting of the Visayan words toktok (knock) and hangyo (beseech). Operation Operation Tokhang supposedly involves the police knocking on the homes of suspected drug addicts and pushers to ask them to stop their criminal activities. But, the police claims, many of the suspects decided instead to fight the police, resulting in their deaths.

Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Twitter: @bobitiglao


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. The only truth about RAPPLER is reporting without validating or double checking….

  2. This is the problem journalist have no regulating body that penalize wrong or misleading news kaya patuloy lang sila gawa ng gawa palpak na balita kasi nakakalusot. Responsible reporting also means ther should be penalties like license revoked for a certain period if found guilty of wrong reporting. Kaya ang media today is considered king, they are untouchable eventhou they are biased walang parataw na parusa kahit palpak ang trabaho nila.

  3. Dolores Amor on

    Mr. Tiglao should be writing about the belief, true or false, of whether majority of Filipinos are “UNEDUCATED”, a belief used by many as a premise for their anti duterte stance. Go back to the election surveys in regard to the core support of the president. If he has an 86% approval rating, does this make the 86% uneducated? personally, I believe this perspective is not even elitist, its real ignorance of the poltical dynamics of this country.

  4. Rapper has been anti Duterte since the very first day he won the Presidency. They refused to report any accomplishments the present administration has accomplished. But then again it is not Duterte’s style to broadcast his accomplishments, he has always said that he is just doing his job so why do I need to crow about these things unlike the other candidate who even made a fake comics showing himself to be the hero and savior of the people from typhoon Yolanda. Some may accuse this newspaper or the writer of siding with the present government. Of course we will take sides when some minority party begins to make up all kinds of exaggerated news to try to put themselves into power. These “corrupt elite” has had their day, they’ve had over 30 years to try to make the Philippines into a first world country, they blew all their chances by espousing nepotism, corruption, and coddling criminals. Look at us, during the 70s we were only second to Japan in terms of income per capital, now we have been overtaken by almost all our neighbors. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia has a much higher income per capital than us. Even Vietnam is poised to overtake us. Soon we will be at the bottom. So disenhartening that these corrupt opposition should want to drag the whole country down. They’ve had their day, they’ve made so much money from their corrupt practices but still they want to cling to power and make even more money at the expense of the country and its people.

  5. We should defend the sanctity of our government. People and institutions or organizations like these power hungry LP allies not only destroys and destabilize the Philippines but also make its people look like scums.
    Rappler should be stopped and banned for doing malicious and discriminatory news and statements. Libel is what suits this fake news harbinger.
    Mr. President DUTERTE is the bedt leader the Filipinos had in a long time and to discredit his accomplishments is somewhat more like treason.

  6. Another misleading story from this writer, I now know The Manila Times is a Pro Duterte newspaper which in incapable of printing the actual facts instead of misleading its readers. I believe the actual people in this so called war on drugs could be higher than 7k, As Duterte has admitted on TV he has killed people himself but this writer never admits this. No matter who you are if you commit a crime they should be punished even a President otherwise the country will never go ahead it will always be a corrupt country. So lets write the truth not a story to please people, as Senator Sotto said about Filipino drivers lately, most Filipinos are uneducated and people like the writer of this story prey on uneducated people by writing misleading stories to boost his ego.

    • data does not lie. what proof do you have that the data presented by tiglao is corrupted. according to tiglao, even the inquirer mentioned these data and you know that the inquirer from the very start is a du30 hater

    • Pilosopo tasyo on

      Misleading? I believe? How dare you question the truth when you dont have a single proof it is wrong? Clearly you are the one who is blind… full of yellowish morning glory. Again…misleading?

    • What you believe is not factual that’s why stop starting your comment with “another misleading story” when in the end you are just stating your opinion. Instead present evidence contrary to what Mr. Tiglao presented so your comment can be believable.

    • “I believe the actual people in this so called war on drugs could be higher than 7k,”

      -Yeah and not a shred of proof. Just an “I believe” without anything to back that up. Being pro-Duterte or not is irrelevant here. The only thing that matters is actual data.

  7. Dear Mr Tiglao,
    You are a very responsible journalist and a true Pinoy. My first time to read a very informative column and realistic information about drugs reporting. May Thy Lord bless you in your reporting the true picture of drugs in the country today.
    Your report is an eye opener to Gen. Bato Dela Rosa and Malacanang boys to counter the biased reporting on drugs in country.
    Americans don’t like Duterte because their treasure hunting was halted inspite of getting hundreds of tons of gold in Sulu and Basilan.

    • Delfin Alcover on

      Mr.Tiglao please continue your reporting. You are very professional indeed in reporting. You knew what you are in. You are very neutral and impartial in news reporting which all media should be. Not like those media i.e. Rappler and others. They are all for money only

  8. Could someone point where the data can be accessed that this article was based. I am trying to look for it in PDI (as the article mentioned) but can’t find any police data.

    That should be made public for everyone to have a better grasp of the situation, Right now all people have is that Rappler update

  9. it’s appalling that the messenger of these fake news before the international body is the vice-president of the country – which she did in order to advance a political agenda.
    isn’t that tantamount to treason and therefore impeachable?

    • You mean impeach Robredo for treason while condoning Duterte’s surrender of PH territory to China? We have the UNCLOS victory under our belt and yet here is your wonderful president more than willing to set it aside. You really have to understand what treason means. Speaker Alvarez is a plunderer who was aquitted under suspicious circumstances, and yet he is now the champion of PH morality? Tiglao was GMA’s lapdog and apparently continues to be one to this day. Must be a profitable business for him instead of being a real journalist for the “financially bleeding” Rappler.
      Is Manila Times making money? I haven’t seen the print edition in a long time. Is their paper thick with ads that they would mock the financial condition of Rappler?

  10. Richard Crab on

    Fake news being a tool for pushing a political agenda or a means of propaganda have invaded social media and turned it into a battleground to determine who gets the most audience, likes or approval.It has never been so pervasive as during the last elections where truth was sacrificed to get the votes needed for candidates to win elections. Whether it be a video posted on youtube meant to spread revisionist agenda or a site deliberately spreading faked or doctored contents no doubt it has become a useful tool for the one determined to win the hearts and minds of netizens no matter what. A lot has been said related to this in the winning of Trump as well as Duterte.And now both appear to be suffering from its backlash. For Duterte, who appears to carry over from his election campaign the preponderance to cuddle the bearer of fake news like Mocha Uson and quite a number of fake news sites to ensure steady support for him, he only has to blame himself if it also causes his eventual downfall. That’s why fake news and those sites that spread them must be totally eradicated in social media before it wreaks complete havoc in the world by being used by unscrupulous politicians who succeed in elections and dangerously thrive on post-truth to dispense power.

    • We are now living in cyber era… Were the intellectual minds clashes… Don’t lecture us on what is fake? With just a click; info and intellectual discussion are there. Mocha Uson is not brightness but she has the common sense;; which sometimes intellectual people lost sight of it?!

  11. Thank you Mr. Tiglao.

    Please continue to report and exposed without bias all these reporters / journalist and personalities who are continuously destroying the sincere intention of the government and country.

    We, OFW all over the globe are thankful for your effort and shall do the same to defend our country.

    Iam one of the OFW’s whom before choose to ignore such issues but now ready to join with others to make a stand and fight in order to stop once and for all the real cause of poverty and lack of development in our country.

    Mabuhay ka Mr. Tiglao!!!

  12. Why not put the sting on Mocha Uson Blog, Sassot, et al for spreading “fake” news, Mr. Tiglao? They are far more concerning than what Rappler is doing.

    • could you please post some example of fake news that Mocha and other bloggers posted online?

    • Because their pages are dedicated to support the president.They have a limited audience. Rappler is consumed by many, regardless of political affiliation, and is thus, much more dangerous. They can sell any news, truth or otherwise, just because they pose themselves as a legit news site.

  13. Its high time that these yellow clique especially Rebredo being the vice president be made accountable for spreading lies to advance their own agendanat the expense of the reputation of the administration. Duterte better emulate Erdogan of Turkey and have those detabilizers arrested by declaring a revolutionary govt

  14. Look into George Soros’ funded organizations such as the USA Democratic Party, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Amnesty International, International Criminal Court, Human Rights Watch, & Media Fund among many others. You might find something common with the anti-Duterte groups.

    • maybe loida lewis is working now with george soros, the man who hacked mossack fonseca to soil putin.

  15. What people don’t understand today is that the Capitalist vs Communist clash of ideology is obsolete.

    It is now GLOBALIST vs NATIONALIST ideology. That’s why we have UN, EU vs RP’s nationalistic president. Don’t expect these biased mouthpieces, Rappler, CNN, BBC etc. to exercise any journalistic integrity or media objectivity, they are all owned by the globalist. Notice foreign or local billionaire globalist Salim or Lewis, fund influence or own controlling interest in much of local mainstream media which explains why they are so rabidly anti-Du30.

    Thank God for the Manila Times

    • You hit the nail on the head. Couldn’t agree with you more. And don’t forget that climate change hoax is part of the globalist agenda too.

    • Yes precisely so, UN Agenda 21 seeks to impose international climate environmental regulations/taxes that are oppressively dictatorial as a means to realizing their “new world order” meaning total gov’t control to the extent that they even want to tax rainwater. Of course first obstacle is to destroy a nation’s sovereignty and independence, hence the diametrically opposed globalist vs. nationalism agenda, created conflict called Hegelian dialectic, a globalist favorite weapons of choice.

      If you have heard of the evil globalist plan inscribed in the “Georgia Guidestones” to keep human population below half a billion, makes you wonder what they plan for the remaining 5 and half billion.

    • You nailed it! Not many people know it. Rappler is funded by the Globalist elite, search it !

  16. Lea Hetherington on

    Well said, Mr. Tiglao. My only wish sa Rappler na yan ay makatagpo siya nang katapat niya. People who are full of hate are deserving to be destroyed, because they already sold their soul.

  17. vagoneto rieles on

    Even if we were to believe that only 2555 people were identified as victims of police operations, the stigma is not reduced one bit. As well, adding to this number, those of the 4525 who might be found as victims of police operations, after all, would not add one bit to the horror as it were. The fact remains that there are over 7000 confirmed deaths arising from violence in the streets of the country in the eight months since President Duterte was sworn in; and, at which time ‘Operation Tokhang’ started.
    What this ‘piece-of-work’ written by Mr. Tiglao aims to do actually, is to serve as a clarion call for the administration to muzzle Rappler and other ‘contra-newspapers’. It also serves as a signal that there is media support for ratcheting-up the program designed to have Ms.Robredo replaced by Bong-Bong Marcos.
    This is a clever ploy only a ‘pro’ like Mr. Tiglao can hatch.

    • arnel amador on

      it’s too early to judge. annual figure of crime rate in ph in 2010 (before pnoy) was 300k (more or less). this figure had risen to 1.2m (+) in 2015. 2016 was half/half under pnoy and digong. i’m eager to see the figures in 2017 onward under digong. numbers won’t lie…
      about bongbpong and leni, the case is being heared in PET/SC. it is undergoing a process provided under the law. the result still out there. it could be painful to leni and her fans if she loses, vice versa, but it’s justice…
      i don’t see any “clever ploy” here except Mr Tiglao is just telling the truth….truth hurts? yup, but it’s the truth!
      it has been awhile when i stopped patronizing those corporate media outlets mentioned above. 9/11 was the last straw. prez trump is right, they are fake. local news networks followed…

  18. @Discuss, yeah those entities you mentioned are full of malice and fake news too, they are sources of intrigues and falsehoods to whoever reads them. Now they are trying to influence the world about the bad things that are not happening to our country. Let’s encourage our leader to continue the killings and contirubute to a reduction in our population.

  19. Tita M. Manabat on

    I salute you Mr. Bobi Tiglao for finding out the real figure in this war on drugs. I agree PRRD should talk to the mayors since the latter are responsible for their own turfs! I agree also that Rappler must be made accountable for their lies.

  20. Malacañang Communications Team can’t do their job, someone must be fired! Good job Mr. Tiglao!

  21. Fake news is prevalent everywhere because the mainstream media has become biased based on partisan politics. For example, in the US, the mainstream media like CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post, etc. love Obama so much that they seldom hit him. Hollywood also love Obama so they fawn on him and his family. They don’t even lampoon him unlike what they are doing now with Trump. In Europe, the mainstream media also love the liberal leaders and do not report the truth about what is really happening in areas where Muslim refugees and immigrants tend to wreak havoc by raping women and rioting when they feel offended. It is the same in the Philippines. Noynoy was handled with kid’s gloves while Duterte did not even experience the so-called honeymoon. So nowadays, I don’t like how the news is reported because it is no longer straight reporting of events but there is always a slant and the vocabulary is laden with the kind of slant the media wants to portray. Look at how the word armed group(neutral) can be changed into terrorists or freedom fighters or rebels depending on how you look at it.

  22. Rolly Rosario on

    A very factual column, Sir Tiglao… a true journalist and pride of journalism.

  23. Sir we salute you again for very factual reporting. Statistics don’t lie, but the other camp twisted it to their favor.

  24. Fake news yet so very damaging. It destroys the reputation of the Philippine government by feeding the international readers with lies and malicious information.. a repuration being damaged because of false and lies of another is a libelous. Somebody from the government should file a case against faking media. By filing a case against Rappler will not only deter them from commiting the same lies in the future but also will add to their financial woes.

  25. Thank you Mr. Tiglao, you should be given a cabinet post of President Dutert, you said it all. I only hope our country should not be devided for the sake of peace and progess of our people including me.

  26. jess nazario on

    The great value naman of the proliferation for such a long period of these fake news is that NOW we have all the pieces of evidence to slap the liars and with treason cases.

  27. jess nazario on

    Bobi, as usual a timely exposure of the fake news machines of the yellows. Thanks ! To further dip deeper into this Rappler lie we can slice and dice the PDI and other data to squeeze out further useful information. For example the PDI data may be cross-referred to the populations of these locations to see their drug-related death incidence profiles. If we have more detailed data on these locations, say down to the barangay level these will reveal more meaningful and actionable information for the PNP to focus their anti-drug campaign on as well as wake them up (or whip) the officials of these LGUs. Bottomline, RAP Rappler with the crime of treason !

  28. Well what do you expect from a “social news site” that consists of nothing but social hipsters who are only drinking at Starbucks just reading some “news” and then just publish it as “newsworthy”?

  29. “Let there be light” as this column of Mr. Tiglao showed how the “financially bleeding” news website should treat journalism is. Not because you are gaining recognition Madam Rappler, you should have SUBSTANCE in what you are reporting!

  30. I don’t know if the EU, Human Rights Watch, CNN, Time, BBC are just pretending to be dumb and naive, and they readily believe those lies. That’s the problem with some foreign media. they just visit a foreign country once and instantly become an expert on some issues they know nothing about. or they get hearsay without validating the information, and report it as news and facts.

    i hope EU, Human Rights Watch, CNN, Time, BBC read your column so that they will now be enlightened.

    • They are also guilty of fake news, btw. Straight reporting of news is no longer in vogue. It is antiquated and I try to look at things now with jaundiced eye.